Uniting nations

Globalisation and Relationships Part 1

Since I was a teenager, I have been travelling. I’ve not spent more than two years in the same place for the past 6 and a half years, and have found that living in foreign countries has both advantages and disadvantages. On the one hand, it has opened my mind to a lot of things, allowed me to experience different cultures and regions, and introduced me to many interesting people. I have found that people are people all around the world, with similar loves, questions, and problems, yet sometimes a cultural gap is impossible to bridge. When in order to make friends with someone one must first bridge the gaps of language and culture, the process is prolonged. Herein lies the disadvantage: it is harder to get closer to people when you’re always moving from place to place.

In my travels I have met many interesting people, but am close to few. I have “friends” from many countries, collected on Facebook like trading cards. I don’t regard this as a bad thing; Facebook makes it convenient to rekindle relations with friends who’ve moved to the ends of the world. If our threads of fate ever cross again, you can bet Facebook helped you find me. Because in today’s global world, it is the World Wide Web that keeps us all connected. I would never be able to stay as close to those friends that I do hold so dear were it not for emails, Skype, and Facebook.

The globalisation of relationships means many things. It means that it is increasingly possible for us to meet people from the other side of the world, and build relationships with them. The world is getting smaller and smaller! But it isn’t easy to become so global. Understanding other cultures means acknowledging that your own culture isn’t the only one in the world, that things are different in other places, and that this is okay. Relationships are built on give and take: exchanges of language, of culture, of interests. Building a friendship involves finding similarities and understanding differences. One fun thing about globalisation is how some things truly do gain fame on a global scale: I’ve bonded with people from China, Thailand, Korea, Bulgaria, the US, the UK, and Japan over Deathnote, the Japanese manga and anime.

Uniting nations is not impossible–it’s just not always easy. Misunderstandings originating in a mispronounced word or a lack of understanding courtesy rituals occur very easily, and the damage that results can be exponential, the relationship taking months, years, generations to be rebuilt. But don’t let this stop us from trying. If we start small, by say, befriending a foreign exchange student, showing them tolerance and a good time, we can slowly build up relationships between countries.

Relationships are important, even in a global world. Our friends aren’t just neighbours and family members, coworkers and fellow townsmen, but also people met by chance in our travels, who we now have the ability to easily stay in touch with. Travelling and coming to understand foreign cultures can bring both rewards and frustration, but in my eyes, it is worth it.

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